The Netflix story is a story of innovation, risk and redemption. It is a story worthy of a documentary or mini-series on Netflix itself.
The latest scene of that story is due to play out Monday afternoon in the week ahead when the company releases its latest quarterly results. It is of particular interest for investors thanks to the stock’s remarkable run during the first half of the year.
Netflix shares more than doubled over the first six months of 2018. The stock rallied 103 percent, better than 498 of the 500 stocks making up the S&P 500 stock index. (Only shares of heart device maker ABIOMED did better than Netflix.)
Since 2013, when Netflix went all-in on video streaming and, more important, producing its own content starting with “House of Cards,” shares have skyrocketed more than 1,600 percent. Almost three times as many Americans pay for a Netflix account each month now compared to four years ago. More than 70 million others overseas now pay for an account each month.
Growing subscribers is important for Netflix. It fuels the company’s investment in its own programs. “It’s been helping us grow the business, grow view hours,” said Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos on the company’s first-quarter earnings call in April. And those new programs help keep subscribers around in an increasingly crowded on-demand market.
Not that Netflix is experiencing waning viewer interest. The service swallows up almost a third of all Internet traffic in North America.
AT&T’s recent purchase of Time Warner gives a giant Internet service provider, over which millions of Netflix subscribers stream videos, access to its own massive film and video catalog. Is Claire Underwood any match for Daenerys Targaryen?
Long-term Netflix shareholders better hope so.
Tom Hudson hosts “The Sunshine Economy” on WLRN-FM; @HudsonsView.